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The Big Blue Daily Mail -- News for Kentucky Wildcat fans, May 13th 2009

Belatedly, but better than never, we have today's news post, most of which may well be old news by now, but maybe not.

I have not had time yet to listen to the Calipari news conference, which was apparently the same kind of "knock it out of the park" love-fest we have begun to get used to here in Kentucky, judging from some of the reaction I have seen.  There is little doubt that John Calipari was born for a job like this, and if he keeps his head about him and the fantastic attitude he has displayed so far, I am convinced that he has only begun to create something very special here at Kentucky -- something that we have all been yearning for since the halcyon days of the late 1990's.

No matter what happens in November (and Calipari has warned us that it won't be a thing of basketball beauty, and trust me, I am taking him at his word), what is really important is what happens in March.  Kentucky fans have suffered four years of irrelevance in the NCAA tournament with low or nonexistent seeds, early exits (or a failure to be invited) and a general malaise that is completely uncharacteristic of Kentucky fans.  When Coach Cal says that the Kentucky brand "has been tarnished," he is talking as much about the perception Wildcat fans have of their own program as that of the rest of the nation.

I will have much more on the perception of Kentucky and how it is changing tomorrow, but for now, let us be happy that we are seeing a rebuilding of the Roman Empire of college basketball.  It has been ravaged by Visigoths to some extent while in its weakened state, but it is clear that the borders are now being reestablished, and the Legions rebuilt stronger than ever.

The rebirth of Kentucky basketball has begun.  And now for the news ...

UK Basketball News

  • Calipari has a press conference today at 10:30.  Yours truly will be visiting the dentist at that time.
  • Wall is likely not to sign a national letter of intent with anyone, according to this Herald-Leader article, which quotes Rivals' Jerry Meyer.  That wouldn't really surprise me.
  • The Duke Basketball Report has a post on John Wall that actually makes sense for once, and I find myself in agreement with.  If Wall choses some school other than Kentucky, I hope UK fans will just shrug and wish him the best.  And I think we will.
  • John Clay has a post that links Luke Winn's article on John Wall that talks about how Wall and Bledsoe might play together.  Winn quotes Wall advisor Brian Clifton, who essentially says what we all had been thinking -- that Bledsoe coming to UK gave him, and Wall, pause.
  • Steve Moss has lots of interesting stuff about Coach Calipari.
  • Luke Winn's article linked earlier also has a ton of stuff about Jodie Meeks.  Jodie makes no bones about the fact that if he isn't a first-rounder, he will be back.  But he does apparently intend to go to the NBA pre-draft combine.

UK Football News

Other UK Sports News

  • Bat Cats win home finale over Morehead, 18-10.

NCAA Sports News

  • Uh oh.  The legacy of O.J. Mayo could mean deep, deep NCAA trouble for Tim Floyd and the USC Trojans if this turns out to be true.  Conquest Chronicles (SBN's USC blog) calls the Yahoo report a "vendetta."  This story will bear watching.
  • Doug Segrest at writes that the Academic Progress Report was sold as containing incentives for success and disincentives for failure, but wound up being all stick and no carrot.  I love this Wimp Sanderson quote:
    Former Alabama basketball coach Wimp Sanderson had the greatest line ever when asked how many of his players graduate: "All who want to. We can provide the tools, and we do. We can't force them."
  • Now the Knight Commission is talking about taking on coaching salaries by asking Congress for an anti-trust exemption for the NCAA.  Given what we have seen from the current congress attempting to limit CEO salaries, there seems little doubt to me it would be granted.  But since most coaches are compensated by money from sponsorship deals and contracts, it seems unlikely to succeed in a meaningful way.

    In related news, Mark Wiedmer has a bunch of suggestions for the Knight Commission.

Other News of Interest

  • Former Bearcat star Corie Blount is on trial for being a dope dealer, and faces sentencing today.
  • Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus has an NBA Playoff prospectus.  Great work from a great blog, as always.
  • Kenny the Jet lays the wood to Mark Cuban via Twitter.